Windows 7 profile SID wrong mstsc can’t login

This is a very strange problem I came across on a windows 7 Embedded thin client. I don’t quite understand what went wrong but I’ll give you a detailed description.

CASE:
The user has a thin client with Windows 7 Embedded that’s been entered in to the Active Directory domain. On the public desktop of the thin client there is a RDP file to connect to a Remote Desktop Server (a.k.a. Terminal Server). The user logs on to the thin client using their AD credentials. The user was able to log on to the server using the RDP file without problems until today.

SYMPTOMS:
– User can’t log on to the Remote Desktop Server, the error received is:

The connection was denied because the user account is not authorized for remote login

TROUBLESHOOTING:
Normally this just means that the user is not a member of the “Remote Desktop Users” local group on the server.
– I verified the user was a member of the correct groups to log on to the server.
– I then tried to log on the server with the same credentials from a different workstation. This worked without a problem. Which led me to conclude at the server-side everything was OK.
– On the troublesome workstation (thin client with WIN 7 E in my case) I launched remote desktop with the “Run As Administrator” option and supplied credentials for an admin account. I tried to connect to the Remote Desktop server using the credentials of the troublesome user account. This worked without a problem.
– I tried again without the run as, and it failed again with the same error.

This led me to my conclusion that something was very wrong with the user profile on the workstation for this domain user.

SOLUTION:
I decided to delete the user profile on the local workstation since nothing is stored in it (they don’t work locally). However when I opened Explorer and went to see in “C:\Users” I saw 2 identical folders with the same name (the username of the troublesome user). It seems there were 2 identical profile folders. I didn’t think it was possible for 2 folders to have the same name.
I deleted both folders!
I then opened REGEDIT and went to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENTVERSION\PROFILELIST
I saw multiple user SID’s and checked them all. To my surprise there were 2 different user SID’s that both had a value c:\users\problem.username underneath it. So 2 different user SID’s for the same username. I thought that was impossible. I deleted both registry keys.
After deleting the profiles and the keys I logged back in with the user and profile was recreated and the remote desktop worked perfectly.

So it seems that the remote desktop client was sending the wrong SID to the server and that was the reason for the unauthorized error message.

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